Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 16 January urged the Iranian parliament (Majlis) to allow his government to go ahead with the second phase of the Targeted Subsidies Reform Act in order to revive the economy, which is struggling under tight western sanctions. Last November the Majlis suspended the second phase of the reform act because of the high inflation caused by the reduction in subsidies and the increases in prices for energy, utilities and other basic foodstuffs. Legislators warned at the time that further reduction in subsidies would harm the economy, which was already suffering from sanctions imposed on the energy and banking sectors (MEES, 16 November 2012).

Mr Ahmadinejad admitted that western sanctions “create a series of problems, including a slowdown in country’s growth,” but at the same time asserted that “one of the best development measures to ensure sustainable growth and circumvent the sanctions and neutralize the enemy’s pressures has been the targeted subsidies plan.” The president was reiterating his strong conviction that this plan would help turn the economy round and solve its numerous problems. (CONTINUED - 749 WORDS)